Accessing ICT (Information and Communication Technology) for women is controlled by a number of factors. Some reasons are economic, others are poor necessary infrastructure which limit women participation in the process of producing information and shaping knowledge. There is also the social and cultural factors. Though the economic factor affects both women and men, gender divide in a society might reflect on women’s accessing ICT
ICT older means like Radio and television, and newer ones like mobile phones, are mostly used in developing countries, even in troubled ones like Syria. The use of ICT depends on the needs of a certain community, also on what a community can afford or have the knowledge to use.
Internet access is controlled by power outages, also the ability to obtain computers and phones to do that. Not every country face the same challenges, as some countries suffer form the absence of proper ICT infrastructure, others have a well established one but women are not using it for empowerment, this might be caused by the lack of useful education to put technology means in service of development and empowerment. There are the social factors that might limit women’s trips to somehow far internet centers or cultural concepts saying that women cannot learn more than what they might need.
I had the opportunity to teach myself how to work on office programs like word and powerpoint, what helped me is the fact that I had access to a computer and internet cafe was nearby. Language was also an important matter in learning how to use a computer and other tools, language is one obstacle before women around the world to learn how to access and use ICT. Women and men must be taught how to use different applications, Skype and Whatsapp provide easy and cheap tool for communication, methods like bluetooth is widely used to share and transfer information.
As I was writing these ideas, I thought that when we want to spread and facilitate technology usage among women, then we must ask the question: How can we integrate technology in the lives of women? How can we adapt it to the context in certain society? Answering the needs and the requirements of societies will make it easier to sustain the use of technology. In this regard, the education process, in my opinion, must depend on Audiovisual materials in the language of the local societies which will be more helpful in explaining and educating different groups.
One thought I had today was the lack of support and promotion of women inventors, we must create role model women in the tech atmosphere and promote them. I always notice that modern tech advertisements and promotions carry a masculine theme most of the time. In my region, laptops and mobiles always carry a masculine concept, while kitchen appliances clearly target women.
Facilitating women's access to ICT by helping them own devices they need especially women who work at home, provide close and safe places for accessing the internet, create local groups to educate women on how to harness ICT for their empowerment and growth, the development of their societies, and encourage men to engage women in owning and dealing with ICT. Encouraging governments to sponsor and promote programs is a suffecient step, and civil societies might play a great role in this regard, also encouraging women to be part of ICT development in their communties communities.
Finally, I believe that by cultivating informed women and men in their societies to pass on knowledge and train others, is important for the sustainability of information flow and for development.